Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tater Tots with a Creole Twist

When Mensa Boy's away, I sometimes don't spend as much time on supper as I should. (Oh, c'mon! We all do that!) Although we did have a nice roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, and even gravy last night. But most of the time when he's out of town I tend to not think much about supper until right before it's supposed to happen.

Monday night I asked the guys what they wanted to have and Taylor immediately piped up with Tater Tot Hotdish. I know I've mentioned that here before, but for those of you who do not know what it is, Tater Tot Hotdish is the quintessential Midwest potluck entree. And a fantastic comfort food as well. It's quick to pull together, bakes for an hour or so and then there you have it...meat, veggies and starch all rolled into one.

And so I ran to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients:

1.5# ground sirloin (90% fat free)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 bag frozen veggies
1 bag Tots

I lined the bottom of my 9x13 pan with foil to make clean-up a cinch, and layered the raw meat on the bottom, spread the frozen veggies on top, spread on the soup from the can and then the tots. Baked 350 for 90 minutes.

But of course I couldn't just leave it all bland like that. So I gave the dish a bit of a creole twist:
I used frozen gumbo vegetables...which had okra in it, and then before I spread on the soup, I sprinkled liberally with creole seasoning and then my all-time favorite spice: Black & Red pepper blend from Penzeys. I also used onion-seasoned Tots.

It was a big hit! We had a hard time keeping ourselves from eating the entire pan!

I bet those little ole Scandinavian Lutheran ladies that developed this dish were rolling over in their graves at the seasonings.

Sorry I didn't take photos. No time.


Burkinator said...

In college, that dish gave me so many episodes of Sunday afternoon, post-potluck indigestion that I am queasy just thinking about it. I'm sure your adaptations were a vast improvement.

Tracey said...

It almost seems... sacrilegious to make the Minnesota dish Creole. But it definitely sounds delicious. Tater tot hotdish was never really a regular dish at our house; we go for the macaroni/tuna/peas hotdish topped with potato chips.

Kimberlee said...

I'm genuinely curious about the original ingredients for this recipe. Not being from the midwest, I have no clue. Is the use of tater tots a modern modification...or was the dish created to include "tots" all along? It sounds interesting, especially with the addition of those sacrilegious seasonings!

Karen said...

The original recipe is just ground beef, frozen veggies, cream of mushroom soup and tator tots.
My variations were just the seasoning and I'm pretty sure no self-respecting Minnesotan ever puts okra in it.

Interestingly enough, it was Tracey's dad that emailed me the recipe.

Burkinator said...

I actually have a wall map of MN hotdish regions. It's a hoot. Apparently, tater tot hotdish is the Twin Cities region.

In NY, we had the tuna casserole (as we Yanks call it) that Tracey described, but we only used chips when Mom ran out of bread crumbs.